In this episode, Stylus speaks to Rex Woodbury, principal at Index Ventures, and Julia Errens, Editor of Pop Culture & Media at Stylus, about the reinvention of social media in the post-pandemic era.
Guests on this Episode
Julia Errens is editor of Pop Culture & Media at Stylus.
Episode Discussion Points
- Rex on his work at Index and his journey to venture capital investing [0:51]
- How consumer behaviour has changed as a result of the pandemic [4:37]
- What shifts in behaviour are happening on social media? [6:15]
- On the opportunity in niche and single-use apps [10:04]
- On the rise of digital doubles and the future of avatars [15:03]
- Why gaming is at the vanguard of future consumer trends [20:10]
"The performative aspects of social media have faded away as younger users – who are digital natives, who are more authentic and vulnerable online and share more of themselves – have embraced the self-expression that platforms like TikTok offer." [6:59]
"Simplicity is what scores really well against the time-sink environments that the Facebook portfolio presents. [Apps like TikTok] are much more powerful in enabling people to actually have a life worth sharing if they so choose, rather than focusing on creating a personality online that doesn't necessarily reflect a reality." [8:59]
"We're seeing that shift towards people creating. And part of that is the tools that enable you to create are easier. It's much easier with no-code tools and TikTok to create a video than the knowledge required to create a YouTube video. But also it's this culture of creation, of people remixing each other, jumping on each other's trends and sounds and challenges." [13:04]
"[The use of avatars] embodies a lot of what we've spoken about – this rejection of internet perfection, of people always feeling like they need to be airbrushed and curated, the pressure to perform online. Now people can express themselves without necessarily feeling like they're always being judged on their appearance, or need to be." [16:19]
"[Avatars] allow people to actually interface with the sort of peers with whom they share an interest in a much more authentic way, by letting them remove themselves a bit from the everyday face that they present to people. And rather than this being inauthentic, I think it's actually much more of a sense of virtual code-switching. And it's really exciting in terms of creating a much more wholesome social landscape, to allow people to connect over shared interests versus self-presentation." [17:41]
"I really think for the last decade, a lot of these 'gaming companies' have really been social networks masquerading as gaming companies. A lot of people go to Fortnite, not necessarily to win anymore, but just to hang out with friends." [20:20]